As of early 2012, more than six billion mobile subscriptions were in use around the world (pre-paid and post-paid), providing mobile access for more than three-quarters (75%) of the world's inhabitants, according to a report by the World Bank.
Mobile phone subscriptions have grown more than eightfold over the past 10 years (up from 0.7 billion in 2000), with the developing world driving much of the growth: As of 2010, developing countries accounted for 77% of worldwide mobile subscriptions, and high-income countries accounted for 23% of subscriptions. That ratio is a dramatic reversal from penetration levels recorded 10 years earlier:
Below, additional findings from the report titled "Maximizing Mobile," published by the World Bank's Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) office.
The ownership of multiple subscriptions is becoming so common that the number of worldwide subscriptions is expected to surpass the human population (now close to 7 billion) by the end of 2013:
Importantly, the near ubiquity of mobile is offering new economic opportunities for the developing world.
For example, the citizens of 74% of the world's countries now use at least one mobile money app, up from 2% in 2001.